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Slow Cooker Pineapple BBQ Chicken Tenders

Use the slow cooker to make seriously easy, seriously juicy Slow Cooker Pineapple BBQ Chicken Tenders that are perfect for dipping or enjoying all on their own! Pair with ranch, honey mustard, or an extra helping of BBQ sauce – you can’t go wrong with this mouthwatering, flavor-packed chicken!

chicken tenders with bbq sauce and pineapple chunks stacked on platter

You know those nights when you just need an easy meal that everyone (even the kids!) will actually eat? I’ve got you covered. Slow Cooker Pineapple BBQ Chicken Tenders are one of those “set it and forget it” recipes – combine everything in the slow cooker and a super-yummy dinner awaits!

Ingredients Needed

One of the many perks of this recipe is the no-prep, minimal-mess process! Just get out all your ingredients and combine together for flavor-packed BBQ chicken tenders in the slow cooker.

package of chicken breast tenderloins
bag of frozen pineapple chunks
pineapple juice can, seasoning in a jar and bottle of Hawaiian bbq sauce
  • Chicken tenderloins – Tenderloins or “tenders” are available fresh or frozen for relatively the same price. Tenders are key for this recipe if you want to serve them whole and pair with dipping sauces. Plus, the slow cooker cooking time is perfect for these already “tender” cuts of meat.
  • Easy Homemade BBQ Rub Recipe – I’ve said it often, and I’ll say it again! I always recommend mixing up double or triple batches of homemade rubs and seasonings to have on hand for easy recipes such as this! The brown sugar in this rub is the perfect “caramel-y” seasoning for the surface of the chicken.
  • BBQ sauce – I used a pineapple BBQ sauce for this combo – just to give a little extra citrusy kick. However, you could literally use any flavor of BBQ sauce that you like. It’s foolproof!
  • Pineapple juice – A little bit of pineapple juice goes a long way toward marinating the chicken in a tangy flavor during cooking! Look for a no-sugar-added variety.
  • Frozen pineapple chunks – Using frozen pineapple will help keep more of the shape and texture of the pineapple throughout the cooking process. It also reduces the amount of extra syrupy sweetness that often is associated with canned pineapple. Bonus – frozen pineapple is available year round for a fresh, tropical flavor!

How To Make Pineapple BBQ Chicken Tenders In The Slow Cooker

You don’t have to plan ahead all day to make this recipe. Seriously, just a few steps and your meal is ready to cook!

First, sprinkle each tenderloin with a bit of the Easy Homemade BBQ Rub. Evenly place them in the slow cooker along with the frozen pineapple chunks spread throughout.

Next, whisk together your preferred BBQ sauce with the pineapple juice. Pour the mix over the chicken.

Cover the slow cooker and cook for 2-3 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low, or until the chicken is fully cooked.

Serve hot with any extra sides and dipping sauces! Add a spoonful of the cooking juices in your serving dish for extra flavor at the end.

*Optional: Here’s one additional step that can help seal in moisture and flavor in the chicken tenders even more. Melt one tablespoon butter in skillet and place seasoned chicken tenderloins in a skillet. Let them cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly browned, then place in the slow cooker.

view of slow cooker filled with cooked bbq chicken tenders and pineapple

Best Sides To Serve With Pineapple BBQ Chicken Tenders 

Think of your favorite classic BBQ sides to pair perfectly with Pineapple BBQ Chicken Tenders! A sweet Hawaiian dinner roll with butter, Slow Cooker Cheesy Mashed Potatoes or mac n’ cheese, or a cold Hawaiian Macaroni Salad would all hit the spot.

You could also take more of an islander’s approach and serve cilantro-lime or fluffy coconut rice to hit the carb lovers’ cravings! Serve the chicken tenders right over a big scoop of rice in a bowl. Steamed vegetables like broccoli or green beans or another fresh tropical fruit can round out a complete meal.

Don’t underestimate the easy fan-favorite sides like French fries or potato chips! You can make this dinner as simple as you’d like. Add an array of dipping sauces – extra BBQ sauce, honey-mustard, ranch, or any other flavor – and everyone will find something they love to pair with the tenders.

chicken tenders tossed with bbq sauce topped with pineapple on a white platter

Pineapple BBQ Chicken Tender FAQs

Is there a difference between a chicken strip and a chicken tender? A chicken strip is somewhat of an all-encompassing term for a thin cut or shape of meat that is usually breaded or fried. It can be a part of chicken tender or it could be a cut from the chicken breast. However, a chicken tender – or chicken tenderloin – is a specific muscle that is located behind the chicken breast and is completely separate.

What cut of chicken is used for chicken tenders? Chicken tenders – or tenderloins – are a specific cut. They are a whole muscle that is attached to the underside of the chicken breast. These pieces are typically removed from the chicken and packaged separately from the breast or other cuts of meat.

What kind of BBQ sauce should be used with this recipe? Any flavor of BBQ sauce that you desire can be used with this recipe. I like Hawaiian (extra flavors of soy sauce and ginger), but a spicier sauce would be delicious too. *If you’d like to reduce the sugar content of the overall recipe, look for a no-sugar-added version of sauce.

Alternative Ways To Make This Recipe

Two other easy options can help you get this tasty, effortless dinner on the table! Choose the oven or air fryer if you want to go from prep-to-serving in under one hour. Both will still deliver a flavorful, tender entrée and are easy enough to make for a lunch or dinner option.

  • Oven – To cook in the oven, brush chicken with olive or avocado oil and season evenly with the BBQ rub. Bake at 350 ℉ until chicken reaches an internal temp of 165 ℉. Brush the tenders with the BBQ sauce and juice mixture and heat through an additional 3-4 minutes. Serve with a side of fresh (not baked) pineapple.
  • Air Fryer – Follow the same simple steps as for the oven for the juiciest BBQ Chicken Tenders. Serve the fresh pineapple on the side!
chicken tenders with bbq sauce and pineapple chunks stacked on platter

Slow Cooker Pineapple BBQ Chicken Tenders

Jennifer Draper
Use the slow cooker to make seriously easy, seriously juicy Slow Cooker Pineapple BBQ Chicken Tenders that are perfect for dipping or enjoying all on their own! Pair with ranch, honey mustard, or an extra helping of BBQ sauce – you can’t go wrong with this mouthwatering, flavor-packed chicken!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 333 kcal


  • Slow Cooker


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
  • 1 tablespoon Easy Homemade BBQ Rub
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I used Pineapple BBQ sauce)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks


  • Sprinkle each tenderloin with BBQ rub
  • Optional: Melt butter in a skillet and lightly brown chicken tenders for 1-2 minutes on each side
  • Place tenders and pineapple chunks in slow cooker
  • Whisk together the BBQ sauce and pineapple juice and pour mix over chicken
  • Cover and cook for 2-3 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low


  • Storage – Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Seal in an airtight container and freeze (with pineapple chunks) for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost when serving again.
  • Best Way To Reheat Leftovers – Microwave for 30-second increments or on medium heat in a skillet on the stove just until heated through. Don’t forget your extra dipping sauces for leftovers!


Calories: 333kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 49gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 448mgPotassium: 973mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 138IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
Important nutritional disclaimer

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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is a 10+ Easy beyond belief and even more tasty. The chicken melts in your mouth, and the combination of bbq sauce and pineapples…soo delish! I used 1 lb. of chicken tenders and made in a small crockpot, it was perfect. Can’t wait to heat up with some roasted cashews. Thank you so much for sharing ♥

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